seeds of Podocarpus macrophyllus, Yew Plum Pine
Podocarpus macrophyllus Samen
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Podocarpus macrophyllus, also called yew plum pine, is a tree species of the family Podocarpaceae. Synonyms include Margbensonia sweetii, Margbensonia macrophylla, and Margbensonia forrestii. Other common names for the tree include fern pine and Buddhist pine. Podocarpus macrophyllus has its origins in Eastern and Southern China as well as Southern Japan. The tree can achieve a height of 20 metres. The leaves have the shape of a band, and a length of 6 to 12 cm. Cones contain between 2 to 4 scales which in turn each contain one seed that has a length of 10 to 15 mm. The scales become fleshy and adopt a reddish-purple colouration once they reach maturation. The length of the scales at this point is between 10 and 20 mm long. The tree’s berry-like scales are edible, and one can eat them raw once they mature. Alternatively, the scales can serve as an excellent flavouring for cakes, pies and the like. Podocarpus macrophyllus has been a source of herbal remedies for the communities that reside within its native range. The plant is purported to have tonic and anthelmintic properties. The remedies drawn from the tree are believed to be effective cures for blood disorders and ringworm. The plant’s tonic properties are regarded as beneficial to the lungs, kidneys, stomach, and heart. The tree also provides wood which is used in the making of furniture and wood pulp for the manufacture of paper. Additional uses of the wood include the making of utensils, farm implements and in the construction of houses. The attribute that makes the wood ideal as a construction material is its innate resistance to water and termites. Podocarpus macrophyllus is used for hedging purposes in North America and as a much-prized Feng shui plant in Hong Kong. The tree is hardy and can cope with temperature drops up to -25 ˚C.
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